Sometimes, we go out on a limb, take a risk, and things don’t turn out as we intended. Other times, we try really hard but still come up short. Failure comes in many forms, such as moral failure, making a mistake or going down a path filled with regret. Financial. Relational. Social. Educational. Professional. Failure is a part of life, and it’s hard to deal with, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
There are so many stories of failure in the Bible, and David is a key example. David, described as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), is credited with writing most of the Book of Psalms and was chosen by God to be part of the lineage that our Savior Jesus would come from. He was a leader of the people of Israel, and he provided numerous examples of human failure.
This weekend, Brian Tome, lead pastor of Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, shared a glimpse into one of David’s such failures. In 2 Samuel 6:1-11, King David led a campaign to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to the City of David. In this journey, mistakes were made and God became angry at their mishandling of the Ark. The mission was such a failure that one man was struck dead by God. Fearing God’s wrath, David decided to end the mission and abandon the Ark.
2 Samuel 6:9-11
9 David was now afraid of the Lord, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of the Lord back into my care?” 10 So David decided not to move the Ark of the Lord into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. 11 The Ark of the Lord remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his entire household.
This failure could have been the end of the story, but after seeing the blessing bestowed on Obed-edom’s house, David decided to try again. He led a second campaign, this time taking extreme measures that led to the mission’s success.
I am reminded of this quote from Legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden, “Failure is never fatal.” Whatever our failures, we need to remember this and believe it is true. If your heart’s still beating then failure has not defeated you. The song “My Testimony” by Elevation Worship captures this truth in these lyrics: “If I’m not dead, then you’re not done … Greater things are still to come.” Another line says, “Cause grace rewrote my story, I’ll testify.”
Are you willing to walk in the grace that God provides and try again? He promises to be with us every step of the way. In his mercy, our failures are not fatal. God’s not done working on, in, or through any of us. He can turn even the darkest of our failures into a story, a “testimony,” for his glory. And who knows, there may even be a surprise blessing for you along the way!
Are you feeling defeated by a failure? How does the story of David encourage you?
If there’s a failure in your life that falls under the category of sin, then confess, repent, and turn it over to God. If you’re struggling with your worth based on any failure in your life, remember who God says you are—loved, redeemed, wanted, and held. Share your feelings with a trusted friend or mentor. You’re not alone. Groups are also a great way to get help along your journey. Think back to a failure that you’ve put behind you and journal about God’s faithfulness despite any shortcomings you might have had.
God, we thank you for being faithful and gracious despite our many failures. We are grateful that, through you, failure is not the end of our story. Your goodness helps us to pick up and move forward after failure. Give us the strength to try again, resting in your grace along the way. May our stories turn into testimonies for your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Kendra Grubinski. Kendra is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and loves studying and sharing God’s Word. During the week, she is a Spanish Teacher at Findlay High School. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pups, reading, traveling, drinking good coffee and being active outdoors.
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